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The Smart Way To Do Carbs (Part 1)

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Eat bread and still lose weight? We’ll toast to that!

Carbs can’t live with them, can’t live without them. When weight loss is the aim, bread, pasta, potatoes and rice are often the first to come off the menu and there’s nothing like a big bowl of hot chips to coax you off the wagon! But what if we told you that eating more carbs was the answer to revving up your fat-loss results?

But what if we told you that eating more carbs was the answer to revving up your fat-loss results?

But what if we told you that eating more carbs was the answer to revving up your fat-loss results?

Not all diets work for everyone, but what we can guarantee is that if you feel restricted or deprived of your favorite foods, you can wave goodbye to any long-term results. But there are ways of shedding pounds without tackling temptation every time you see a grain, only to eventually cave and end up knee-deep in the bread basket. Busting the confusion over carbohydrates means that you can enjoy and benefit from carbs, rather than fearing them. The answer? A clever dietary trick called carb cycling that allows you to fuel up, fight fat and enjoy your food.

Chain reaction

‘Carb cycling means regulating the amount of carbohydrates you eat, alternating between low and high on different days,’ explains Russell Bouwman, a sports nutritionist at The Nutri Centre (nutricentre.com). This method of cycling your carb intake sends your body’s metabolism into a higher gear, allowing you to burn fat on low-carb days, but keeping you fuelled up and preventing your body from dipping into starvation mode with high-carb days.

‘Carb cycling means regulating the amount of carbohydrates you eat, alternating between low and high on different days,’ explains Russell Bouwman

‘Carb cycling means regulating the amount of carbohydrates you eat, alternating between low and high on different days,’ explains Russell Bouwman

Boosting lean muscle mass is crucial to fat loss, but low-calorie diets don’t always support your body’s muscle-building efforts. Carb cycling can help you bridge the gap between creating lean muscle and torching fat. ‘Toning or building lean muscle to improve health and physique often requires enough carbohydrates and calories to support these aims, while weight loss - although not as simple as calories in versus calories out - generally requires a strategy of consuming lower carbohydrates and fewer calories s e body is forced to dip into its fat reserves, Il. ‘The downside of a long-term low-carb program is that it can rob you of your strength and energy, which can be an issue if you want to maintain a strong fitness regime. Carb cycling combines the weight-loss advantages of eating a low-carb diet with the energy and strength bonuses of a high-carb diet.’

Food for thought

It’s a no-brainer that carbs are an important part of a healthy diet, particularly if you like to go hard in the gym, so cutting them out completely is unnecessary - you’d only be shortchanging yourself! But it is important to eat the right kinds. Basing most of your meals on high-GI carbs will only put you on the fast track to weight gain and illness.

‘High carbohydrate foods, particularly those that are known as high-GI foods, such as white bread, white pasta and sugary treats, promote insulin production which can result in fat gain,’ explains Russell. ‘Insulin release is the body’s way of signaling to cells to store energy rather than expend it, which results in increasing fat stores.’

Basing most of your meals on high-GI carbs will only put you on the fast track to weight gain - and illness.

Basing most of your meals on high-GI carbs will only put you on the fast track to weight gain - and illness.

So, while replacing foods with a high fat content with ‘fat-free’ carbs might sound like it could help you shift pounds, these sugar-filled foods that encourage insulin production aren’t doing your weight-loss goals any good. They’re harmful to your health as well - high-GI, processed foods have been linked to obesity and diabetes.

On the other hand, if you’ve ever tried to stick to a low-cal, low-fat or low-carb diet, particularly while trying to work out hard, you’ll be familiar with a few of the nasty side effects: a lack of concentration, a shorter temper and a spike in mood swings. Taking on a carb cycling routine, however, could equal big benefits when it comes to your mental focus and the ability to process information effectively. ‘Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of glucose, which is essential for brain function,’ Russell says. ‘Plus, research suggests that the brain also uses ketones (produced from the breakdown of fat) to fuel brain functions. When you’re on a low-carb diet to induce weight loss, you are said to be in ketosis.’

To put it simply, mixing up your carb intake might just offer the best of both worlds for your brain and your body.

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